The biggest story coming out of Green Bay this week has been about Jordy Nelson reportedly wanting $10 million a year to stay in Green Bay past this season. That’s more than Roddy White, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Johnson, and as much as Brandon Marshall. So, the question then becomes “Is Nelson worth that much money?”
Call me biased, call me a home towner, call me ignorant or naive, but I truly believe that he is. Let me tell you why.
In a league that has become heavily a passing league for years now Green Bay has consistently been one of the best passing offenses in the game. Yes, they have one of the best quarterbacks in the game (if not THE best), and yes we saw what happened to Greg Jennings’ numbers when he left town for more money. Jordy Nelson is a different breed. Last year when Aaron Rodgers went down Jordy Nelson remained the top target for the back up quarterbacks and seemed to catch anything within his reach. Remember the comeback against Dallas? Matt Flynn threw a touchdown pass to Nelson to spark the come back. What you may not remember is that Flynn actually threw the ball to Dallas cornerback Orlando Scandrick, and Nelson quite literally reached over the top of him and stole the ball away. Remember the opening game of the season in San Francisco? Nelson showed amazing field awareness and hands when he caught a pass down the left sideline in which he kept his feet in bounds and leaned what seemed like three yards out of bounds to grab the ball. That fact is that Nelson may have the best hands in the league, and if not he certainly has the hands of an elite wide receiver.
Nelson easily has the best hands on the team, is the best route runner, and has the best chemistry with his quarterback. This makes him the Packers’ most valuable receiver. While Nelson’s receptions, yards, and touchdowns may not match any of the aforementioned receivers who are under the $10 million mark, there is one stat in which he ranks higher than any of them. Last season Nelson had 22 receptions of 20 yards or more, good for more than one big play down the field a game. That is on par with the game’s best receiver, Calvin Johnson. While Nelson may not have found the end zone on those plays, he put his team in great position to put the points on the board while garnering the game’s all important momentum.
Likely the Packers will use Greg Jennings as an example of what may happen to Nelson should he not be willing to negotiate, but he is worth the big money contract. Nelson is an elite wide receiver in this league, and should be paid as one. Don’t think he’s elite? Well, watch the video below and shut up.